Something is Broken

The first house my husband or I owned is the one we live in now. It’s a very old house, although we did buy new appliances when he bought it (a couple months before we were engaged). Some of you know that it was originally a church. It is a unique place, and when Matt started remodeling the basement, he discovered that nothing was square. I am not a builder, but I can see where the walls and floor not being at right angles would make it challenging to add trim and many of the other parts of remodeling.

We soon learned the rule of old homes: everything breaks. And good luck figuring out how to fix it. I am very glad that I married a man who is smart and talented at fixing things. He is good at finding helpful videos on YouTube, too. I’m sure he has saved us thousands of dollars with the appliances he has fixed and repairs to our cars and house. It certainly feels like we just move from one broken thing to the next. When Matt came home from the hospital this summer, our dryer broke within a week or two. After that, my car has been struggling with one issue or another. Now our washer is broken, but we are focusing on the car for the moment. I don’t even want to guess what will be next. I don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow; today has enough trouble of it’s own. 😉

Broken things are stressful. I feel the same way about broken relationships. There is tension with a friend or family member. Someone at work gives the cold shoulder. I need to talk to my husband and I keep putting it off. If something isn’t right in a relationship, I feel it all day long. I can’t relax. I’m on the verge of tears. It is always in the back of my mind and often, it’s right in the front.

My conflict style is none. No conflict. Ever. That would be great. It’s not a healthy style, unfortunately, so I have had to work on honest communication even when it is uncomfortable. The thing that gets me is these two verses here:

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We hear the first verse regularly, but the second one struck me. “Give no opportunity to the devil.” I’m guessing most of you reading this don’t want the devil to have a way into your relationships. When I avoid conflict, I give space for my mind to roam, and it absolutely lets the devil get in and tempt me with worst case scenarios and worries about what might happen in the meantime. My choice to honestly face conflict is one way I can smack the devil in the face, giving him no room in my relationship to taunt and tempt me or the other person.

I am still working on this, but it motivates me to be more honest in my relationships when I think of it as a chance to push the devil out of the way. Let’s be a pain in the devil’s neck today!

Boxes of Hope

I walked into our storage unit a few weeks ago. The kids needed winter clothes, and I had packed them all away in the hope that we would be listing our house for sale and hopefully bringing those boxes back to a new home when the colder weather rolled around.

I opened the door, and right there was our Christmas tree bag. The feelings from 6 months ago flooded over me. Hope. Excitement. Anticipation. Joy. We had rented this storage unit on the advice of a realtor who said we needed to get the house cleared out so we could list it. I had started on this task months ago. The me from 6 months ago was excited about the possibility of finally moving into town and passing on our project house to someone who wants a project. (Our project is three kids for the foreseeable future.)

I took some winter clothes boxes and put them in the back of my car. As I drove away from the unit, sadness overcame me. I remembered the hope I had when I put these boxes into storage. I had hope that the months to come would hold some big steps for us: preparing the house, selling it, buying another one, and moving from the only house we have lived in for our entire marriage. A verse popped into my mind.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This hope has been deferred for years. I thought we were finally there, finally ready to make this happen. I certainly had no concept of what we would go through this summer with Matt’s sickness, hospitalization, and complications. I never saw it coming. Who would?

The God who knows our days from beginning to end knew. He also knows what the coming days and months and years will hold for us, and I can trust Him. I have already learned and grown so much from this season. I know it isn’t wasted time. It is not in vain that we walk this road and defer the hope of moving out of our house for yet another year.

So I will hang on to Him. I love the imagery of this Psalm, in the shadow of His wings. I have no doubt He can keep me safe just as He always has.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭57:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬